Kevin Colbert is expanding on the reasons that led to David DeCastro’s surprising release earlier in the offseason. He spoke with the media on Tuesday and outlined what happened. That comes via the PPG’s Gerry Dulac, who tweeted out the news a short time ago.
Here is Colbert’s full quote, via the Steelers.com’ website.
“When David showed up, he had an ankle problem that was bothering him,” Colbert told reporters. “We had it looked at. We decided that we were going to move on. And it takes nothing away from what David did for us in his time here. But his availability was something that we couldn’t determine at that point. We decided we had to move on and David will do what he needs to do. Whether he continues to play, that’ll be his decision.
“But when a guy like Trai Turner was available to us and we could afford him under our salary cap, we decided to make that move. And again, it takes nothing away from what David did for us in his nine seasons with us. But we know we have to be ready for 2021.”
The Steelers released DeCastro on June 24th with a non-football injury designation. DeCastro missed spring workouts with an ankle injury, one that’s bothered him for years now. Days after getting cut, he elaborated on his health, saying he needed a third surgery to repair ongoing bone spurs.
“I have to get surgery on my ankle a third time,” he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Joe Starkey. “I tried to fix it last year but the bone spurs kept coming back. It nagged me pretty bad all last year.”
DeCastro had the worst season of his career in 2020 and was clearly hampered by multiple injuries. Clearly, the Steelers realized DeCastro wouldn’t be ready for the start of the 2021 season and had to move on. Shortly after cutting him, the team signed five-time Pro Bowler Trai Turner as his replacement. It was the final move of the team revamping their offensive line.
It was also an unexpected one and the reason why the team waited until a month before training camp to make the move. It wasn’t until DeCastro came back to the team this spring that they realized the extent of his medical situation. Blame could probably be assigned to both parties, player and team, for not being more proactive about the situation.
As Dulac’s tweet notes, Colbert at one point referred to DeCastro as retiring. DeCastro has said he’s considering doing so but it will depend on the health of his ankle following his surgery. It’s unclear when and if he’s had that surgery and how long his recovery could be. But it seems likely he wouldn’t be ready to begin the season. There’s been no reports of other teams having interest in signing him. They, like DeCastro, are waiting to see how he is health and rehab-wise before moving forward.
Drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, DeCastro started 124 games for the Steelers. He made six Pro Bowls and two-All Pro teams and will go down as one of the best guards in Steelers’ history. A strong candidate for the team’s Hall of Honor, his Hall of Fame chances are very slim.